Records fell at Canada’s Royal Horse Show in Toronto at the weekend, with showjumper Yann Candele winning the Greenhawk Canadian Cup for the fourth time, and eventer Waylon Roberts taking out the Indoor Eventing title for the seventh time.
In front of a near capacity crowd in the Ricoh Coliseum, Waylon Roberts rode Bill Owen like a man with nothing to lose and everything to win. Sitting in third following the first round of competition, Roberts knew how costly mistakes could be at this level. And with Olympians and Pan-Am champions riding alongside, competition was stiff.
“I don’t think we have ever had a competition as tight as this one,” he said. “It’s a real testament to the quality of riders we have here this year, and of course to Captain Mark Phillips who designed the courses and the builders here at the Royal. The atmosphere was intense in there and my horse dealt with it incredibly well,” he said.
British invader William Fox-Pitt moved up to fourth place overall on Autorytet , after finishing the first round in fitth.
“Tonight I knew I had to take a couple of risks,” said Roberts following his win. “I didn’t ride the pig jump very well but ‘Bill’ saved my butt! I was really working to get a clear round tonight because that last rail we had down last night cost us the lead coming into today. I had to change my plan a bit and I still didn’t have quite as much turning power as I would have liked, but the horse has come so far in a short period of time so I’m very pleased.”
Canadian Champion Yann Candele took the Greenhawk Canadian Cup for an unheard-of fourth consecutive time, finishing on an overall fault-free score of zero on newly purchased mount Showgirl. She was bought less than a month ago by a group of owners primarily for Candele to show on the outdoor circuit.
“We are just breaking in together. She has been here three days and we have already jumped three rounds and now she has a title and I am so proud of her,” Candele said. “She was purchased mostly for outdoors but for me the Canadian Championships is a big deal and there is great pride in winning it so we brought her here.”
With a starting field of 22 including the biggest names in Canadian show jumping, Candele knew he had his work cut out for him and admitted to feeling the pressure coming in as the three-time defending champion.
“It’s a championship – it’s always hard. It’s always a different challenge, it’s always pressure and you know that if you want to win the championship like this you need to be clear every day. Beth’s horse was fantastic as well so there was no room for error. Showgirl got a little bit tired and everything was very difficult in the last round. I think it was a poor performance on me and an amazing performance on her. She just carried me around when things were going wrong and wronger and she just did what she was supposed to do. I am so pleased with her.”
Runner-up Beth Underhill had even more reason to be excited with her reserve champion finish in the Greenhawk Canadian Cup, as it signaled the return to indoor competition for her mount Viggo following a near two-year hiatus. What’s more, the finish earned the pair one of two additional berths to compete in next week’s international division, Underhill’s “goal” coming into the Royal this year.
“It was my goal. I came here thinking I really wanted to be top-two and earn our berth in the International week – I’m really proud that we were able to do that in order to be able to stay down here and keep jumping,” said Underhill.
Toronto’s Jordan MacPherson also earned the right to compete next week with Piccobello du Val de Geer, following their fourth place finish in the Greenhawk Canadian Cup.
Underhill and MacPherson will join fellow Canadians Ian Millar, Ainsley Vince, Mac Cone, Karen Cudmore, Angela Covert and Yann Candele competing Tuesday through Saturday in the prestigious international division.
$75,000 Greenhawk Canadian Cup – Overall Standings
Rider / Horse / Total Score
1. Yann Candele / Caledon, ON / Showgirl / 0.00
2. Beth Underhill / Schomberg, ON / Viggo / 1.62
3. Angela Covert / St. Lazare, QC / Utan / 4.33
4. Jordan MacPherson / Toronto, ON / Piccobello du Val de Geer / 4.66
5. Isabelle Lapierre / Breakeyville, QC / Vicki Vale / 6.74
6 / Ainsley Vince / Frieda / 8.19
7 / Christian Sorensen / Bobby / 8.62
8 / Ian Millar / Star Power / 8.65
9 / Lauren Patava / Sly / 13.48
10 / Mac Cone / Amor van de Rostal / 19.35
$20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing – Overall Standings
Rider / Hometown / Horse / Total Score
1. Waylon Roberts / Port Perry, ON / Bill Owen / 144.94
2. Kendal Lehari / Uxbridge, ON / Daily Edition / 146.20
3. Ian Roberts / Port Perry, ON / Faolan / 149.81
4. William Fox-Pitt / Great Britain / Autorytet / 154.43
5. Lindsay Beer / Midhurst, ON / El Paso / 157.32